Despite ailments, Lincoln senior ends softball career as PIL player of year

by: COURTESY OF SYDNEY MESHER - Lincoln High softball star PC Mesher, the PIL 6A player of the year, is surprised by the gift of a framed version of her No. 7 jersey.When Page Mesher instructed 200-plus guests to cluster on his backyard patio during PIL 6A softball player of the year Paige Claire Mesher’s Lincoln High graduation party, everyone knew a special moment was on the horizon — that is, everyone except PC, his daughter.

“What’s happening, why are you telling everyone to go outside?” PC asked her dad.

It was obvious she was out of her element. PC is a self-proclaimed type-A personality. She strives for control and wants everything to fall into place.

Plus, she says: “I’ve learned to be a future-oriented person.”

But, as she has found out this year, life’s vagaries can be random and illogical.

After three years of shoulder pains and tendinitis and ligament strain diagnoses, in October, while holding back tears, PC’s parents told her she had swollen lymph nodes — usually an inevitable precursor to cancer.

Thankfully, and inexplicably, she has not been diagnosed with cancer. However, even after three rounds of nonanabolic steroid treatment, the lymph node swelling hasn’t subsided.

“The story on that is it remains a medical mystery,” Page Mesher says. “She continues to have enlarged lymph nodes and metabolically active lymph nodes. They cannot figure out what is causing this unusual occurrence.”

Throughout the difficult situation, the Meshers have tried to remain positive.

“Every day we don’t have to hear the word ‘cancer,’ we’re grateful,” Page Mesher says.

PC says that after she learned the news about her lymph nodes “my mind immediately began to think about what to do next. I knew I could get through it.”

Like her family, who provided 64 plates of Chinese food during a Lincoln softball team trip to Eugene, and her dad, who added batting cages to his company warehouse for all Lincoln baseball and softball players to use, PC veers toward altruism.

“I was brought up in a loving and caring environment,” she says. “I always try to make people laugh and feel comfortable.”

However, along with her enlarged lymph nodes, her heart has expanded as well.

“I’ve realized how others have touched my life,” she says.

PC has volunteered at the Portland Children’s Museum and Lincoln Little League softball. This year, she won the humanitarian award at Lincoln High. Plus, she maintained a 4.28 GPA in Lincoln’s international baccalaureate program.

Despite being only 18, PC has a fairly clear vision of her ideal future.

Next year, she will attend the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

“Why not experience something new?” she says, about her decision to venture south.

She will major in accounting.

“It’s a practical major. I don’t want to get an obscure degree in Russian literature,” she says.

She also plans to join a sorority.

“I like the idea of sisterhood,” she says.

Though her dad is still holding out hope, PC is almost positive she will not try to walk on to the Division-I softball team at Charleston.

“I’ve thought about walking on, but my body is falling apart,” PC says. “I wake up in the morning feeling like a 60-year-old woman. I want to be able to play catch with my kids when I’m older.”

However, her dad says: “If a coach meets her and sees her hit, you never know.”

PC will bring her softball bag to Charleston just in case she has an epiphany.

by: COURTESY OF PAGE MESHER - Lincoln High softball players (from left) Belle Odenthal, Morgan Portlock, PC Mesher, Jordan Coleman, Maggie Clapp and Lexi Washington gather at the mound during a 2014 game. Mesher earned PIL 6A player-of-the-year honors, capping a stellar four-year career in which she overcame numerous injuries and health challenges.But once her college days are behind her, PC wants to be her own boss.

“I kind of want to own my own business,” she says.

Owning her own business may seem like a tall task, but if she achieves her goal, she would be a chip off the old block. PC’s dad owns Off the Wall Magnets, a refrigerator magnet distribution company. Her mom owns Essence Interiors, an interior design company. And her grandpa started the accounting firm GeffenMesher.

PC hasn’t decided on an exact business blueprint yet, but she is interested in starting a nonprofit that provides a place for people to receive clear and accurate analyses of potential illnesses based on symptoms. Also, she wants the nonprofit to provide advice for treatment.

“I want to give people valid info so they can choose their own path,” she says.

On the side, she plans to coach youth softball. Her main goal is to teach kids to embrace what she neglected.

“I never stretched. I never did anything. I always took it as a joke,” she says.

She also wants to teach girls to develop their arms correctly. She says when she was younger she “had a very good arm.” However, while the muscles she used to wind up a pitch were needed to release a pitch were underdeveloped.

“No one really talks about the follow through. They just say to throw the pitch as fast as you can,” PC says.

She also hopes to instill a general appreciation for the game of softball.

“You develop a love or a hatred for the game early on. I want to make sure kids enjoy it,” she says.

Though her health remains in the back of her mind, she refuses to let it cloud her vision.

“I can’t think about it too much, or it could eat away at me for 10 years,” she says.

However, her health problems have forced her to scale back her focus.

“With regard to lymphoma, I’ve tried to live in the present,” she says.

This year, at least, she managed to thrive despite the elephant in the room.

Going into softball season, PC wasn’t sure she could return to the batter’s box, let alone the field.

“I was literally expecting nothing. I joked about just being the team manager,” she says.

However, she surprised herself.

During her senior year, PC played in 28 games, batted .387 and drove in 30 runs. Because of her shoulder problems, PC served as the team’s designated hitter her sophomore year, junior year and at the beginning of her senior season.

“She was on the bench, her arm was hurt, and she just talked my ear off,” Lincoln softball coach Christina Archambault says.

But then came a big game against Jesuit, and Archambault asked PC if she wanted to play first base.

“I said, ‘What do you think about playing first base?’ Her eyes got really big, and she said, “I can start warming up!’” Archambault says.

PC delivered the best game of her career, going 4 for 4 and belting a grand slam to spearhead a 10-2 Lincoln victory.

Plus, Archambault says PC looked right at home at first base, gathering every play in the field.

For the rest of the season, PC continued to be sure-handed at first, posting a .981 fielding percentage in 19 games.

After making it to the second round of the state playoffs, Lincoln fell to Barlow. The final out marked the conclusion of the careers of the most successful senior classes in Lincoln history.

“It’s weird, I’ve played for 14 years, and you always know there is going to be another game,” she says.

The group won five playoff games. Before they arrived, Lincoln had never won in the playoffs.

After a reflective meeting in right field, PC remained in the outfield, unwilling to leave. Eventually, a few of her teammates wrapped their arms around her shoulders, escorting her off the field.

“It was beautiful, because she cares,” Page Mesher says.

Her father appreciates PC’s teammates for showing her nothing but love and support.

“As a parent, it’s been extremely heartwarming,” he says. “The team has known (about PC’s health issue) since October. They knew that softball was a wonderfully positive distraction for her.”

But maybe the greatest act of affection came at the graduation party.

Page Mesher started out the extravaganza saying, “We just want to recognize you for

who you are and what you’ve accomplished.”

Her teammates and coach presented PC with a framed version of her signature No. 7 jersey, a heartfelt letter, a framed picture of PC on first base with her eyes fixated on the base path, and a signed softball from her remarkable game against Jesuit. The jerseys, her grand-slam ball and other memorabilia will go in Lincoln’s trophy case.

Also, Archambault and Lincoln junior Belle Odenthal delivered thoughtful speeches.

When Odenthal was new to the team, PC welcomed her with open arms. Now the two are close friends.

Archambault says PC is the only player she’s ever coached who consistently asks her about her day and how she is feeling.

“It’s so humbling to know I’ve made that big of an impact on my team and my teammates’ life,” PC says. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”

Odenthal’s words at the party summed up PC’s impact.

“To you, you’re just PC,” she said. “But to me, you’re an idol.”

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